Millennials, Omni-Channel and Good Old Fashioned Customer Service
E-Commerce is constantly evolving and branching off into new customer applications. These include new payment methods, buying processes and improved channels for connecting. Millennials are a major target audience for e-commerce businesses in 2016 and companies are developing a lot of new and interesting services for this group. This year may see a rise in financial companies in the e-commerce world, this is down to the fact that 63% of millennials do not own a credit card. For example, financial companies such as Affirm and Earnest are helping millennials manage their finances. This is just one trend of many.
On the Button
From a retail standpoint, things get a lot more innovative, or crazy depending on how you look at it. Amazons “Dash Button” caused quite the stir last year. If you missed the announcement, it is a physical button that you can press and it then orders a product for you immediately. For example, if you have a button on your washing machine that says “Tide”, and your all out, push it and the order for detergent is processed. It may be early stages but there are already conversations about kitchen items such as microwaves and refrigerators coming with these buttons already installed.
A day in the life of a Millennial: wake up, get funds on an online credit card, press the coffee button next to the coffee maker because I’m running low then if I must go to a bricks and mortar store to get breakfast I simply use my mobile wallet. Things really are becoming ludicrously easy.
There have also been new trends developing for the actual websites themselves. The Popup is making a comeback. These new Popup styles are far from the annoying ones of old, they are taking marketing, data mining and selling and putting it in one simple box. It is used as a tool to inform about offers or giving away something in exchange for your email address. Another website trend that is not necessarily new but is developing is massive images on websites, these images and videos take most of the screen and are visually appealing. They also help smaller e-commerce companies stand out.
We are all connected to the mainframe, well kind of. You still have a choice whether of not you want to buy online but things are becoming very very convenient to join the world of digital window shopping. As an online customer, I expect things to be convenient and fast, that’s the unique selling point, but it is still a massive plus when you can interact with a person behind the fancy buttons and interfaces to get some high-quality pre-sale or after sales support.
Omni-Channel Customer Support
Omni-channel retail is the future of e-commerce call centre according to Deloitte. Present day customers, especially millennials want to be connected via Social Media, Telephone, Email, Chat, SMS etc and it is vitally important that these customers are tracked to ensure a seamless experience. Especially in e-commerce retail, your customer support has to be available anytime, anywhere.
Live Chat: Pre-Sale Support
That little box at the bottom right that says “Need Help?” is a fantastic tool for making the most of sale’s opportunities and keeping customers on your site for longer. It is the virtual representative of a traditional sales person, it answers questions about colours, sizes, costs and more. It is convenient for the customer, it is fast and simple to use. An article by eMarketer indicated that 63% [of customers] were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
To 2016 and Beyond
The main trend in e-commerce will always be innovation. The products and services that companies offer will continue to branch off into more niche markets. The one mainstay is customer service, the principles of customer support stays the same it is the modes of communication that will change.